Music makers of Thamel
The band itself was formed 24 years ago by Tilak Thapa Magar, Sunil Singh, Gaurav and Sunil Gurung. However, over the years, the band members have changed but Strings as a band has continued. Today the band comprises Pison Khadgi (vocal/percussion), Saroj Shahi (guitar/vocal), Dimod Dangol (guitar/vocal),
Ratna Tuladhar (drums) and Deepak Pradhan (bass guitar). Shahi is the newest member, having joined the band only about a year ago.
The band performs at different restaurants in Thamel.
“Though we usually play cover songs of rock bands, we are professionally a commercial band that performs anything from vintage to the latest hits,” says Khadgi.
Shahi says that they are
serious about music, which they do not take merely as just another hobby.
“Earlier our family used to think we were killing time by making music. But today I look after the family through my music. Today they are not only supportive and satisfied with our choice of career, but also respect our field,” he says.
Saying that more gigs mean more money, Dangol adds, “The earning from music today is more than enough for a good living.”
The band not only plays vintage rock and cover songs of Maroon 5, James Blunt, Red Hot
Chilli Pepper, The Calling, Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam, James Brown and others, but also perform songs of Arun Thapa, 1974 AD, Karma Band and Sunil Bardewa. “People do ask us why we give preference to Western music. We feel that people often get bored of the same dal-bhat and go out for a change in taste. Why not give them a change in music also?” asks Dongol.
Having played together for almost four years now, they feel that the music alone does not make a band successful. They say that immense commitment to the band and understanding among the members is very important.
“When you are performing alone, it’s your choice and improvisation. But in a band, it’s a collective effort, and the result is a combination of different talents. Musically speaking, performing in a band is more satisfying. A band is just like a family functioning together,” says Khadgi.
And today all of them say that they are not just band mates, but friends too.
Of course, their next step is “obviously coming out with an album,” according to Shahi, but they don’t want to promise anything as such.
“We are playing the music of some of the best musicians of the era, so when we come out with an album, we want it to be of that class. It’s better to wait and give something remarkable than just something audible,” he opines.
They say that though they improvise on the numbers during practice sessions, the live performances see huge changes.
“We are very good at spoiling songs,” jokes Shahi.
They admire the band Thamel Splash for the members’ hard work.
And if given a chance, then they’d like to perform with bands like RHCP, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine.
Their only wish is that bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin would perform in our country. — As told to Abhilasha Subba